A mother who suddenly went into labour during the London to Brighton Bike Ride is searching for the heroic policeman who escorted her to hospital.
Shana Garland, of Chatfield Road, Cuckfield, thought she had plenty of time to wait when she began having contractions at 10.30am on Father’s Day (June 15).
Her husband Stuart came home from the park with their 23-month-old daughter Isabella 15 minutes after Shana’s contractions began and they calmly got in the car with the plan to drop off Isabella at a friends before going to the Princess Royal Hospital.
But only minutes after they set off they were stuck in amongst the bike ride and Shana’s contractions became so frequent that she realised the birth was imminent.
She said: “I thought it was going to take a long time because my first labour took over 24 hours.
“It was only when we got to Haywards Heath I was having contractions every two minutes and we just stopped, bikers everywhere, cars everywhere, I thought ‘I need help, I don’t want to have my baby in the car’.”
Stuart called the police and an officer on a motor bike came about three minutes after he called.
“I was relieved and somewhat embarrassed,” said Shana, “it was hot and I had the windows open and I was making quite a bit of noise and all the bikers were looking at me saying ‘she’s in labour!’
“One guy fell over because he was distracted and he didn’t see a pothole.”
They ran out of time to take Isabella to a friends so she stayed for the ride and found the whole ordeal quite entertaining.
Shana said: “She found it hysterical. Every time I moaned, she moaned in the back and laughed. I did think that was a bit funny.”
The policeman told Stuart to keep up with him before turning on his sirens and speeding through the crowds to make way for their car.
Shana said she could tell Stuart was stressed while trying to follow the bike as he was scared that she might give birth in his car.
She said what happened after she reached the hospital was a bit of a blur as she gave birth only one hour after arriving.
She said: “The officer was really really kind. He got off his motor cycle. They went to get a wheelchair. He said ‘are you OK?’.
“I’m not even sure if I responded. I don’t think I said ‘thank you’.”
Baby girl Olivia was born at 1.25pm weighing six pounds and 14 ounces.
Olivia, who was one week overdue, acted as an impromptu Father’s Day present for Shana’s dad.
She said: “I didn’t get him a gift and I had bought him a card saying ‘from your little girls’ because I assumed she would be here by then so she got here just in time.”
Shana said she wanted to find the officer who helped them so she could thank him in person.
She said: “We were really impressed with how the police handled it. They took it seriously. We were really grateful.”
Shana said she has also posted a message on the Haywards Heath Gossip Facebook page, confessing to what happened, because she felt embarrassed hearing people talk about ‘the woman who went into labour and held up all the bike ride’.